JUNE 15, 2021 -- Governor John Carney announced today that he intends to lift the COVID-19 State of Emergency declaration on July 13th.
The governor first declared an emergency in Delaware on March 12, 2020 to cope with COVID-19. Since then, he has renewed the declaration 16 times, the most recent of which was quietly done on Sunday.
“We now have the tools to prevent COVID-19 infection, serious illness and hospitalization,” Governor Carney said in a brief statement. “Get vaccinated. Ask your friends and family if they’ve received their shot.”
As of Monday, June 14, state officials reported that 68.3% of Delaware adults had received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Under Delaware law, the governor has an unconstrained and autonomous ability to declare a State of Emergency. This initial declaration can last up to 30 days, after which the chief executive can renew the declaration for another 30 days for as many times as he or she wishes.
Last Friday, State House Minority Whip Tim Dukes (R-Laurel) published an opinion column urging the governor to immediately end his State of Emergency declaration. "Every significant metric we use to track the impact of COVID-19 has been trending sharply downward for nearly two months," he wrote, also citing the state's high inoculation rates among those in the most vulnerable groups.
"Emergency orders aside, Delawareans have moved on," Rep. Dukes noted. "They are congregating freely, going to public events, shopping, and engaging in all manner of collective activity – largely without social distancing or the use of masks. The State of Emergency has outlived its usefulness and there is little data to justify its continuance."
On a related noted, the Governor Carney today also signed a modification that makes technical changes to his 29th emergency order. Educators and staff in schools and child care centers are not required to wear masks when children are not present, according to Tuesday’s modification. Students and staff also are not required to wear masks outdoors.